What are the most widely used methods of promoting a DJ’s music? This is a frequently asked question I get from artists and the answer I have to that is mix sets. Another question that I hear quite frequently is whether live mixes or studio mixes are better. In order to determine which is better we need to get a better perspective of the pros and cons of each. Below is the list of both to help you better understand what may work best:
Studio Mix Sets
I’ve always felt studio mixes are really good in scenarios where an artist is trying to showcase a specific sound because they can focus the mix in a direction that a buyer may want to hear without having to worry about what the crowd wants during a live set.
Direction – As mentioned above, a mix can be directed to a specific sound which can cater to what the buyer is wanting without worrying about a live crowd response.
Technical Clarity – Studio mixes can be perfected so there are little to no issues in mixing quality or sound quality. This way, you are able to provide the best possible sound reference.
Time Specific – Studio mixes can be structured to meet time requirements accurately, best suited for specific mix requests or guest mixes.
Representation of Artist Skills – A studio mix often times does not accurately reflect an artist’s true DJ talents because their mix often times is much different then how they would perform live.
Structured – Often times studio mixes sound a bit too structured lacking the creativity which one would experience with a live performance.
Live Mix Sets
Live mixes have always been best suited to accurately represent an artist’s performance capability and sound preference in my eyes. They also tend to garner a lot of interest from fans because if the sets are good a fan can live vicariously through the music as if they are actually witnessing the performance. Here are some pros and cons:
Accuracy – Typically a live mix can reflect how the artist performs and what they are expected to perform live for the most part. Fans, promoters and buyers alike, tend to like this type of mix the most in my experience as it can give them an idea of what to expect from an artist as a live performer versus what they can creatively put together in the studio.
Fans – Live mixes tend to be a fan favorite because it allows the fan to imagine what it would be like being at the actual event while listening to the mix. This further allows the artist to utilize the mix as a tool for added promotion.
Crowd Interaction – Utilizing a special recorder (with additional mice) allows for the artist to record the fan interaction which can further enhance the effects on the mix. If it’s a key event or show with a large attendance, it can really make the set sound amazing and further the fan’s and buyer’s interest.
Sound Quality – Often times with live mixes, you get sound quality issues which can be caused by the mixer, recorder or any other number of issues. This can cause some mixes not to record properly and effect the playback.
Equipment – To properly record a live mix, one needs to have a mobile recorder which can easily be misplaced, lost or stolen and can be cumbersome to travel with.
Set – Although a live set can be used to somewhat accurately reflect what an artist can be expected to play on a given night, sometimes it can incorrectly be assumed that a specific set is the ONLY type of performance they are capable of playing. This can be a bad thing if the individual who is listening to the set wants a different type of sound for their event.
Overall, I believe there are best fit scenarios for each type of set, and both can be used depending on what the needs of the artist are.